Last week room 8 and room 3 went on ski camp to Mt Ruaphehu. All those who were going on camp met at the back of the school by the car park at quarter to eight. At eight o’clock, we were assigned to our cars; after a brief chat by the teachers and adults, we set off.
Two long hours of travel later, we arrived at Taihape to stretch our legs and to do some gumboot throwing. A short drive later, we pulled up at the National Memorial of Tangiwai where on December 24, 1953, one hundred and fifty one people died because of a la har that came down the river, destroying a bridge that trains crossed, causing a train crash. Ohakune was our next stop; we had our lunch and changed into our snow gear.
Excitement was growing in proportion to the mountain as we neared our destination, Turoa ski area. Our vehicles finally arrived at a large, shallow, slushy ice pond – the car park. Once everyone had arrived, we regrouped ourselves and trudged on over to the entrance. As soon as our classes were allowed entry, everyone dashed towards the snow to make snowballs and waged war on each other. After twenty minutes, our principal came back with some sleds. Of course, everyone wanted a ride but there weren’t enough to go around so the rule was that each sled was shared between two people. Screams, yells, and cheers were the main noises that were heard by everyone at the sledding area. After 2 hours, we stopped the sledding, returned the sleds and got back in the cars. We all arrived at the Ski Haus which was at the National Park where our accommodation was. We unpacked our bags and went inside. Inside the Ski Haus there were a number of cabins that were lined up against the wall; the boys cabins were on the left and the girls cabins on the right. It had a pool table, log fire and conversation pit. We devoured our dinner, washed our dishes, changed into our pajamas and went to bed, for we all knew that the next day was going to be an early start.
Having been kitted out with our skis and snowboards, we started our lessons at 9:00 am the next morning at Happy Valley. Our first lesson was about how to clip your boots on and off the snowboard; this took about 10 minutes, then we moved on to balancing and steering. Next, we worked on braking and bringing ourselves to a stop without falling over; this was accomplished by when moving forward, putting pressure on your heels and when moving backward, putting pressure on your toes. Finally, after much anticipation, we were allowed to snowboard down to the bottom and take the chair lift back to the top. We were having a fantastic time going up and down as a group but it was slow movement because some were slow learners so we had to wait around a lot.
Our adrenaline was at its max. We were just waiting for our teacher to say we were free to go and when he did, we zoomed off down the mountain, shouting and yelling with huge enthusiasm. We didn’t make it to the bottom unharmed – half of us landed on our bottoms, the other half landed on our faces but that didn’t stop us. We were on fire! Since we had no teacher now, we had to wait in line for the chair lift at the bottom with everyone else; before, we were able to just jump to the front of the queue and didn’t have to wait. The one advantage of the wait was that it built tension so when we got to the top we would be all psyched up and would bolt down towards the bottom again. How time flies as you’re flying yourself! We had already been there for 4 hours. We had lunch, got ourselves refueled and snowboarded for another 3 hours. Unfortunately, we had to return our gear and go home because the mountain closed at 4:00 pm.
After our visit to the Turangi hot pools, we came home, got dressed and dragged ourselves off to bed for it was extremely late. We all fell asleep content with our day.
Twelve o ‘clock the next day we started our tour at the Waiouru War Museum; the guy who was taking us around was hilarious and knew a tank load of information. He told of the tragic things that had happened during the war and how awful it was. An hour and a half later, we were back on the road packed with new knowledge and facts. In Levin, we made a quick stop at the Adventure Playground; after an hour’s play, we were on the final stretch of road and heading to our school where our parents were waiting to pick us up.
As our cars pulled up outside the school, we were greeted with hugs by our parents. When they asked us how our trip to the mountain was, we all answered in our separate ways, “Fantastic!”